You Weren't in the Room: Five Things You Should Read Regardless of Where You Are on Your Cloud Foundry Journey

June 22, 2017 Dormain Drewitz

The Meta-Takeaways From Cloud Foundry Summit 2017

 When I was a history major in college, my professors assigned an obscene amount of reading. There was no way to get through the list. In the face of this deluge, my strategy was to not miss any classes. Hearing which topics the professor lingered on and being able to ask questions after the lecture gave me clues where to spend my time.

These days the pace of the conference circuit is, well, a little nutty. It's not physically, mentally, or financially possible to be in the room every time. And catching up on all the replays? Good luck finding the time - even watching at 2x speed ;)

It's a reflection of the times we live in. As Redmonk's Steve O'Grady (@sogrady) noted in his keynote at Cloud Foundry Summit, we live in an age of choice. That choice creates cognitive overhead for developers to keep up with everything. How do you know what's going to be on the test?

Even if you made it to Cloud Foundry Summit last week, there were five or six tracks going at once each afternoon. Fortunately, several attendees have published their takeaways. By reading through these recaps, you'll pick up some of what you missed and where to spend your time watching replays (coming soon!).

The Why: Cloud Foundry is Worth the Time

"With so many large enterprises already realizing significant business benefits from the platform, I think we can all agree Cloud Foundry is making its mark on the enterprise" - Jeff Kelly

The first question we often ask ourselves before doing the work to learn something new is often: Why do I care? What value is this going to bring me? With so much software available today, why should I spend time learning about Cloud Foundry?

In one word: Outcomes.

Taking examples from T-Mobile, Comcast, and Liberty Mutual, Jeff Kelly (@jeffreyfkelly) summarizes real outcomes. He balances the evidence of happier, more productive developers, with the realities of process change. Various presenters offered practical examples to address those challenges. Some are captured in other takeaway articles, but Jeff's post is a worthy starting point.

Read: Cloud Foundry is Making Its Mark on the Enterprise

The What's New: Cloud Foundry's Evolving Ecosystem

"The race is on to provide the best set of abstractions for the widest range of use cases with a single operational toolchain." - Jared Ruckle

After we have confidence in a topic's worthwhileness, we tend to follow the current events. We may be filling in the background at the same time, always keeping an eye on the news. In evaluating this news we need to ask ourselves some questions: Is this software technology going in the right direction? Is the community willing to build what's necessary for my complex needs? As Steve O'Grady suggested asking yourself: Will it make my day easier?

There were a ton of announcements that came out during the conference. Most illustrated the growing and evolving ecosystem around Cloud Foundry. In his recap, Jared Ruckle (@jaredruckle) highlights five areas to watch: Kubo, .NET, cloud providers, Open Service Broker API, and CredHub. From containers to credentials, the Cloud Foundry community is taking on making it easier to manage hard problems.

Read: How to Avoid the Bulldozer: Highlights of Cloud Foundry Summit 2017

The How: Getting Started with Cloud Foundry

"If you are starting down the path of using Cloud Foundry, or contemplating digital transformation, take note. The patterns of success are emerging." - Dormain Drewitz (me)

When we're ready to start applying what we've learned, we don't want to repeat the mistakes of others. How can we increase our likelihood of success? What are the proven recipes to follow?

Companies starting down the path with Cloud Foundry now have the benefit of proven recipes. Garmin, T-Mobile, Verizon, Comcast, Home Depot, and Liberty Mutual are the trailblazers. They navigated the uncharted waters of enterprise adoption and shared their stories at Summit. Since I love making lists of three, I distilled what I heard from these companies into a three step process.

Read: Secrets of Successful Cloud Foundry Adopters

More How: Managing Cloud Foundry

"It turns out that some adopters of Cloud Foundry are borrowing an approach used by their developers: create continuous delivery pipelines to automate these serial operational processes." - Greg Chase

As we use our newly learned knowledge or software, we may ask ourselves: Could I be doing this better? What can I do to spend less time on "toil" and more time engineering value? How can keep up with the pace of new features in the maelstrom of software updates today?

Cloud Foundry makes things like same day bug fixes with no downtime a trivial matter. But what about managing the platform itself? T-Mobile has nine Foundations. Verizon has twelve Foundations. JP Morgan has thirty Foundations. In his post, Greg Chase (@gregchase) highlights an emerging trend of platform operators using Concourse. Taking examples from Verizon's presentation, as well as Yahoo! Japan and a couple of Cloud Foundry engineers, Greg reveals the "secret" to managing the platform at scale.

Read: Found at CF Summit: The Secret Pipelines of Agile Cloud Operators

Advanced Use Cases on Cloud Foundry: Modernizing Batch ETL

"The extract and transform steps tend to be performance intensive, and this is where the microservices approach of adding instances to scale the process really adds value." - Jag Mirani

Finally, as we bask in our mastery of a new domain, we ask ourselves: What else could I apply this to? Can I get more out of my investment here?

There's a rich history of innovation that comes from cross-pollinating a technology to a new problem space. In this vein, Jag Mirani (@jagmirani) covers a use case being proven out at the insurance company HCSC. Instead of running user-facing applications on Cloud Foundry, HCSC is taking on their ETL monolith. Each step in the extract, transform, and load pipeline becomes an application. Jag provides some background on the use case, as well as some of the advantages gained from this approach.

Read: Streaming Data Clears the Path for Legacy Systems Modernization

Don't miss out next time

Learning from the community is more than reading a write up. It's more than watching the replay. Those are helpful, but they don't put you in the hallway with the speaker that just presented on a relevant topic. Sometimes you need to make sure you're there.

For the Cloud Foundry community there are two major events coming: Cloud Foundry Summit Europe and SpringOne Platform. You can use S1P200_Drewitz for $200 SpringOne Platform. See you in class.


About the Author

Dormain Drewitz

Dormain leads Product Marketing for Pivotal Platform Ecosystem, including GemFire, Pivotal's PCF Services offerings, and ISV offerings for PCF. Previously, she was Director of Product Marketing for Mobile and Pivotal Data Suite. Prior to Pivotal, she was Director of Platform Marketing at Riverbed Technology. Prior to Riverbed, she spent over 5 years as a technology investment analyst, closely following enterprise infrastructure software companies and industry trends. Dormain holds a B. A. in History from the University of California at Los Angeles.

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